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  • SMG has been acquired by private equity firm Onex Corporation for an undisclosed sum. Onex says its acquisition of
  • SMG Holdings Inc. will close in early 2018. SMG manages 240 venues, including many of the major convention centers in the U.S.
  • Halifax Convention Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada, to debut Dec. 15 with first client event scheduled for Jan. 20, 2018. …
  • Three other events — Brides 2018, the Halifax Business Awards and the Franchise Expo —
  • also are booked for early 2018. … In all, the new facility already has 90 events on the books for 2018
  • Dan Lincoln will retire as President and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau at the end of the year. He spent 11 years on
  • the job. COO Mike Laatsch will be interim CEO while a nationwide search for Lincoln’s successor takes place.
  • Shepard has acquired McCune Audio-Video-Lighting in a move to bolster Shepard’s presence in the western U.S. market. McCune has California
  • operations in Anaheim, Monterey and San Francisco and will be absorbed by Shepard’s AV department.

U.S. Travel Data Shows Drop in International Inbound Travel

Sandi Cain
, News Editor
December 4, 2017
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Washington — New government data released in November indicates a 3.9% overall drop for international inbound travel to the U.S. through June 2017.

Countries with the biggest drop in business travelers in the first half of this year included Argentina, down 30.9%, Switzerland down 23.9%, and Brazil, down 23.2%. China also showed a weakening of business travelers with a decline of 11.2%. Other countries with double-digit drops were Venezuela (19.6%), India (18.2%), and Colombia (13.8%). In each of those cases except Venezuela, the business travel decline was steeper than the drop in those visiting for pleasure. As many as a quarter of travelers to the U.S. from countries like the Netherlands and Germany come here for business purposes.

U.S. Ports of Entry also experienced a decline in passenger numbers. Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport saw the biggest drop at 23%, followed by New York (JFK) at 20% and Dallas at 18%. The only ports of entry that experienced overall growth were Boston and Honolulu at a scant 1% each and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at 4%. 

Expo! Expo!, staged by IAEE in San Antonio the last week of November, was under way when this travel trend data was released. “Yes, international attendance was impacted. We were down slightly, (but) we still had 25 countries represented,” said IAEE President and CEO and Chairman of the Convention Industry Council David DuBois, noting that 30 countries were represented last year. 

Among other possible factors affecting Expo! Expo! attendance: shows that were postponed because of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria may have been rescheduled for the same week as IAEE out of necessity. Others may have had conflicting dates due to venue availability. In addition, some foreign governments have put restrictions on how often employees can travel to industry events, cutting in to their overall attendance, DuBois said.

In response to the report, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said that the travel industry will “turn over every stone looking for all available policy options to better promote the U.S. as an international destination.” 

David DuBois at (972) 687-9204 or ddubois@iaee.com; Roger Dow at (202) 408-8422 or rdow@ustravel.org

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